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Mouthing Great Dane

Discussions relating to Personal Injury Law

Mouthing Great Dane

Postby MacDhuBh » Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:56 am

My three year old altered male dane has started mouthing at my step daughter who is six and tonight when friends were visiting with their three year old he mouthed him as well. While he is not biting, his behaviour is very disturbing for me. I want to know what I can do to curb this behaviour before he actually does bite someone. He doesn't mouth at my stepson who is 8 or anyone else bigger.Other than this he has started chewing remote controls(for the tv) when left alone with one. He never did any of this before, his behaviour was never an issue. I also have a 7 year old altered female dane and she is no issue. We adopted a rescue in October, he is a 8 month old altered puggle(beagle/pug mix). He tends to engage my male dane in play which appears somewhat aggressive on the part of the puggle. He shows his teeth and snaps his teeth at the dane and goes after the male dane. He is being told a firm no when he does this to my danes though. I'm sure his presence has something to do with my dane's behavior, but I don't know what to do to curb the dane's mouthing.
MacDhuBh
 
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Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:54 am

Mouthing Great Dane

Postby Arthur » Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:37 am

My three year old altered male dane has started mouthing at my step daughter who is six and tonight when friends were visiting with their three year old he mouthed him as well. While he is not biting, his behaviour is very disturbing for me. I want to know what I can do to curb this behaviour before he actually does bite someone. He doesn't mouth at my stepson who is 8 or anyone else bigger.Other than this he has started chewing remote controls(for the tv) when left alone with one. He never did any of this before, his behaviour was never an issue. I also have a 7 year old altered female dane and she is no issue. We adopted a rescue in October, he is a 8 month old altered puggle(beagle/pug mix). He tends to engage my male dane in play which appears somewhat aggressive on the part of the puggle. He shows his teeth and snaps his teeth at the dane and goes after the male dane. He is being told a firm no when he does this to my danes though. I'm sure his presence has something to do with my dane's behavior, but I don't know what to do to curb the dane's mouthing.
Arthur
 
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Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:43 pm

Mouthing Great Dane

Postby Becher » Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:14 pm

First, you have to control the new addition.  The interaction between that very young(juvenile) dog and your mature male Dane is NOT acceptable.  "Showing teeth" might be a fear grimace, I can't see that from here, but you need to learn to read the communication between/among your dogs asap: go to Turid Rugaas' site for a quick concept and then purchase her book and video:

site: http://www.canis.no/rugaas/index.php

book and video:  http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=DTB527

This instructional material will provide you with sophisticated knowledge regarding how dogs communicate: some of these communications are quite subtle so you must observe closely.  This new puppy is disruptive, from your report, but he is also communicating on a constant basis with both your other dogs and yourselves, and this may be heavily contributing to the older Dane's sudden proprietary behavior toward younger children.  Since the children involved are your step children(I realize you said he doesn't mouth the 8 year old boy), I'm wondering how heavily socialized your male Dane was to young children.  If he is a rescue(obtained before five months of age) you have no way of knowing this; if you raised him from puppyhood, exposure to people of all ages should have been a number one priority from day one.  If he's been fine with the 6 year old girl for quite a while and has suddenly developed this "mouthing", it's definitely stress related, as is the remote control thievery.  However, the Great Dane is predisposed toward dominance and rank opportunism and, if not appropriately trained and socialized(or if from a poor line) will attempt to take control of its environment if the dog feels it is necessary(chaotic environments, lack of human leadership, new additions whether human or animal, change of residence, etc., all can precipitate rank opportunism.)  Dogs need someone to be in control; when a dog perceives a lack of same, the dog may(dependent upon breed type) attempt to take control.

Mouthing is not aggression unless it is accompanied by growling, hackles raised, or over excitability.  Because a dog uses his mouth does not mean he will eventually "bite" but I can't see anything from here.  "Stealing" a remote control device can be a learned behavior: when the dog takes something of high 'value' to humans, people chase him, pay him attention, and thereby reward the behavior.  Dogs often become defensively aggressive when this pursuit for the object becomes frightening to them.  The best way to extinguish any sort of "thievery"(which is actually a resource behavior) is to set the dog up: leave an old remote control device in plain sight and, when the dog picks it up or even noses it, walk out of the room(closed door for ten seconds is optimum).  The dog will most likely carry the object while attempting to follow you: avoid him, change rooms, for as long as it takes for him to DROP and FORGET the object, then ask him for a trained behavior and heavily reward it(make a big deal out of his "sit"), end session.  Repeat randomly for a week or so and the dog will make the connection between his possession(capture) of the object and your immediate uavailability.  If this is only a separation issue, the dog is reacting to the sudden anxiety in his environment brought on by the new puppy's inappropriate behavior toward him.

You need to take control of your pack.  Put everyone on a Nothing In Life Is Free(NILIF) regimen, explanation for same found at this link:http://www.vin.com/VINDBPub/SearchPB/Proceedings/PR05000/PR00470.htm

The dogs must all freely CHOOSE to "sit" for the NILIF, which means they need to be instructed using ONLY positive reinforcement, so use a unique word and start over.  A guideline for teaching the 'sit' is at this link:http://home.gci.net/~divs/behavior/bemod_relax.html

This protocol was designed by a British veterinarian(Valerie O'Farrel) some years ago and is a foundation for changing psychological rank in order to control anxiety, aggression, and rank opportunism.  It promotes the human psychologically while giving the dog(s) clear signal that s/he is not in charge and does not NEED to be in charge.  Your male Dane must have been heavily socialized to other dogs for him to so easily accept the presumptive behavior of this upstart puppy.  The puppy must be taught who is who in this mix of dogs: right now, it isn't him, it's most likely the female Dane with the male next in line.  You'll determine THAT by studying dog body language.  Once all your dogs have begun to "sit" for everything(NILIF) and you've observed them well enough to determine who is who between the Danes, greet the most obviously dominant first, the next second, the puppy last: feed them in this order, interact with them in this order, take or let them in/out in this order.  Prevent all the dogs from greeting visitors at the door: it's not their job.  Enforce a "sit" for each one, if possible, when people enter.  If the puppy is unable to perform(as I would guess is the case due to his age, unknown history and training, and apparent excitability) do not allow him to be present when visitors enter. The puppy should not be allowed to "play" in any manner that is obviously not being well accepted by the Dane and the only way you can determine this is to closely observe both dogs, reading their body language.  If the Dane is being intimidated or showing signs of stress(including any development of clear signs of dominance), stop the interaction, tell both dogs to "sit", remove the Dane(pat your side, ask him to accompany you) and leave the puppy behind in the next room.  This is a clear signal to both dogs that this "play" routine is not acceptable to you, the leader, and a clear signal to the puppy that the Dane is higher ranking because you, the leader, allow the Dane to accompany you out of the room.

Your Dane might very well be exhibiting proprietary behavior toward very young children out of a self perceived need to "protect", take charge, etc.  Do not allow him to interact with other people's children.  A dog this size, no matter how sweet and beautifully trained, is far too large and can react to a child's innocent behavior with an instinctive "disciplinary" action that is not at all intended to harm but that WILL harm.  A three year old is a baby, capable of doing who knows what to a dog(and they DO, out of innocence, of course).  Allowing the children of friends or neighbors to interact with your dogs sets your dogs up for a possible disaster and you for a lawsuit(or worse.)  I can't tell you how many homes I've been in where a dog has bitten a visiting child because the child acted "inappropriately", the dog was fearful or not socialized to children, the dog misunderstood the child's intentions, etc., all resulting in lawsuits and some seizures by animal control.  Best err on the side of caution.

At home, each time the dog mouths the 6 year old girl, remove him from the room immediately(with no word, no yelling, etc.) and put him behind a closed door for a minute.  Because I can't temperament test this dog or evaluate what's going on in your home, I can't fully determine cause and I can't fully advise.  Never leave any dog alone with any child for any reason and, if the Dane's behavior persists(or worsens) during your work with NILIF(which should go on for at least two months) and attempt to analyze rank among your dogs and enforce same, find a certified applied animal behaviorist(NOT a dog trainer) at one of the following sites:http://certifiedanimalbehaviorist.com/page6.htmlhttp://www.animalbehavior.org/ABSAppliedBehavior/caab-directory
Becher
 
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